Watch: Celebrations mark 70th anniversary of China as protests in Hong Kong escalate

Balloons are seen above performers at the end of the parade marking the 70th founding anniversary of People's Republic of China
Balloons are seen above performers at the end of the parade marking the 70th founding anniversary of People's Republic of China Copyright REUTERS/Thomas Peter
By Lauren Chadwick
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The People's Republic of China celebrated its 70th anniversary on October 1. Mao Zedong proclaimed the founding of the country in 1949 after a communist victory in the civil war.


Military force was on display in China as the communist state celebrated its 70th anniversary with a parade in Beijing.

China's National Day, celebrated annually on October 1, marks the day former Communist Party Chairman Mao Zedong proclaimed the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949 after a communist victory during the Chinese Civil War.

The parade displayed China's military force as Chinese President Xi Jinping delivered an important political speech, claiming: "No force can ever shake the status of our great nation, or stop the Chinese people and nation from striving forward."

Meanwhile, protests broke out in Hong Kong, a special administrative region of China, where pro-democracy protests have continued for months after the region's government proposed an extradition bill that would have allowed residents to be sent to mainland China.

READ MORE: Protester wounded after police fire live round in Hong Kong

The People's Republic of China

Chinese communist leader Mao Zedong declared the creation of the People's Republic of China on October 1, 1949, after the communists won the Chinese civil war against the nationalist party.

In a speech given at a political conference days before October 1, Zedong said: "the era in which the Chinese people were regarded as uncivilised is now ended. We shall emerge in the world as a nation with an advanced culture."

Zedong began the new era of communist rule by banning polygamy and arranged marriages and then redistributed land from landlords and the wealthy to peasants.

China is now the world's most populous country and one of the world's largest economic powers but the internet and media are heavily censored by the Communist Party.

"The Communist Party claims that without its leadership, China would have remained poor, underdeveloped and ignored, if not belittled, by the international community. But historical facts suggest otherwise," said Steve Tsang, the Director of the SOAS China Institute at the University of London.

"China was accepted as a founding member of the UN and given a permanent seat at the UN Security Council in 1945, four years before the Communists came to power," he pointed out.

A show of military force

The state marked the National Day with a show of military force, unveiling new missiles as part of the parade.

More than 15,000 troops marched in formation through Tiananmen Square as jet fighters flew overhead. Photos of past leaders were carried through the square as part of the enormous political event.

"It is all about showing off the might of the Party and the country, underlining the fact that unlike the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, which only held power for 69 years, the [Communist Party of China] has already surpassed it by celebration its 70 years in power," Tsang told Euronews.

"China today, in fact, has much scope for soft power or achievements for others to admire, but Xi and the Party prefers to focus on the military might of China," he said.

See photos of the parade below:

REUTERS/Thomas Peter
REUTERS/Thomas Peter
Military vehicles carrying JL-2 submarine-launched ballistic missiles drive past Tiananmen SquareREUTERS/Thomas Peter

Additional sources • Reuters

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